From Library Journal
Here are two quirky and entertaining collections of celebrity profiles. Since 1993, The Onion's entertainment section, "The Onion A.V. Club," has regaled millions with its profiles of artists and entertainers whose stars are not necessarily on the media ascendant. Section editor Thompson has culled some 68 of them from the last decade, arranged by tone into ten chapters. The dazzling diversity of entertainers and personalities on parade includes Merle Haggard, Elvira, Bob Barker, Joan Jett, James Elroy, Jello Biafra, Ron Jeremy (discussing his penis size), Mr. T., "Weird Al" Yankovic, The Unknown Comic, Henry Rollins (from whom the title is derived), and, wonderfully, Tom Lehrer. Repeated interviews with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, the brain trust of HBO's beautiful Mr. Show, and occasional observations from "Weird Al" provide a throughline. An excellent choice for all libraries. Zehme (Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman), writes director Cameron Crowe in his foreword, is "the King of the First Sentence." Journalist to the stars for the past 20 years, he has accrued an amazing list of celebrity profile credits in, among other high-profile magazines, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Playboy, and Spy. The 25 reprinted pieces collected here, all of which are introduced by Zehme with trenchant comments and observations, reveal his playful irreverance, openly breezy style, and talent for turning guarded deified personalities inside out. If The Onion favors stars whose A-list status has waned, Zehme's milieu is the rarefied air of the most famous, and so we are fated to spend time with the likes of Sinatra, Seinfeld, Letterman, Leno, Schwarzenegger, Madonna, and Howard Stern. Despite its racey and promising subtitle, Zehme prefers to dish rather than dis. More often than not, in fact, he is openly sympathetic with his charges. Fun, informative, and dead-on perfect for insatiable stargazers.Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In most arenas, the art of the interview is in peril. Publicists have trained their charges to regurgitate scripted anecdotes and plug upcoming projects; TV, magazines, and newspapers usually play along, fearful they'll miss an opportunity to feature the star of the moment. But editors of the Onion,
the satirical newspaper, have long known that people who don't have a movie opening in 2,000 megaplexes still have something to say. While the Onion
's pursuit of iconoclastic interviewees began by necessity, not design--Mr. T was more likely to grant an interview to the fledgling, Wisconsin-based publication than Mike Tyson--these strugglers, has-beens, hermits, and successful malcontents proved both more frank and more interesting in discussing their art and experiences. This anthology includes conversations with a delightfully unpredictable mix of filmmakers, musicians, writers, and more. Among the best are cynical comedian George Carlin and a curmudgeonly Harlan Ellison. Roughly organized in an attitudinal decrescendo from vitriolic to content, and interspersed with recurring chats with the creators of the late, lamented Mr. Show
, these exchanges sparkle. Keir GraffCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved